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OXFORD, Miss. – While recovering last season from a neck injury, Issac Gross watched from the sidelines as Ole Miss and Arkansas traded scores. Following the Rebels’ overtime loss, Gross remained patient, knowing another opportunity to play the Razorbacks would present itself.
Now, it’s here.
Ole Miss defensive tackle Issac Gross
Gross remembered what it was like to see Arkansas’ quarterback Brandon Allen convert on the two-point conversion that sealed the Rebels’ fate. And although he recalled a locker room filled with disappointment and shock, as the loss took with it the best chance for the Rebels to play for the Southeastern Conference Championship, Gross explained how he and his Ole Miss teammates moved forward.
Issac Gross on the Rebels’ 2015 loss to Arkansas
The senior defensive tackle hopes his leadership this week helped with the team’s preparation for its first SEC road game of the season.
No. 12 Ole Miss (3-2, 1-1 SEC) hasn’t been on the road since September 5 when it played in a neutral site game against Florida State to kick off the 2016 season.
Gross’ advice to his teammates in practice this week was simple: “When we are out here, let’s handle business.”
Since the Rebels’ season-opener, they have played four straight games inside the newly renovated Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. But playing in an SEC road game is something Gross definitely gets excited about.
No. 22 Arkansas (4-2, 0-2) is 3-1 at home in Fayetteville this season.
“It’s always good to play at home,” Gross said with a smile while rubbing the top of his new haircut. “I don’t know about the other guys, but I like to go into somebody else’s home and kick butt.”
Gross knows what’s like to play in a hostile environment against a conference foe as he has been in tough road contests against Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, Texas, Mississippi State, LSU and Georgia, to name a few. So with more-than-enough experience in big games, what does the Batesville, Mississippi native tell his teammates who have not played in an SEC Western Division road game?
Gross has played in all five of the Rebels’ games this season and tallied 12 tackles, six of which were solo, and one quarterback hurry. He entered the 2016 season tied for 10th in school history and among the active SEC leaders with 27.5 career tackles for loss.
Ole Miss and Arkansas kick off at 6:00 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, October 15, in Fayetteville. The game will be televised on ESPN.
(Feature image credit: Bentley Breland, The Rebel Walk)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.